Saturday, October 27, 2007


The Round Robin in which I have been participating has come to an end, and my very lovely Tea Party book has found its way home.

The eight very creative ladies taking part have all contributed their pages, and the end result is just beautiful.

It is a very nostalgic look at tea parties, most people choosing a style that recalls more elegant days, when tea time was a very gracious ritual and a special occasion for bringing out your finest china, displaying fine linens, and showing off your talents in the kitchen (unless you were fortunate enough to pay someone to do that for you!)

Many of the pages have old doileys incorporated into them, and Diana from New Zealand even attached a very beautiful old butter knife.

I asked the participants to record an old family recipe on the reverse side of each page, and there are some wonderful ones, including Butterfly Cakes, Rock Cakes, Mary McGovern's Strawberry Jam, Val's Neverfail Sponge, and Grandma's Scones.

Art Nouveau and Edwardian feature strongly on the pages, which is exactly what I had in mind. There is even a page featuring a dolls' teaparty.

It is so sad that we do not seem to take time for this very unique form of hospitality very often nowadays. It is usually a case of "Meet me for coffee" or "Join me for a beer." We do not seem to have the time clean and dust and vacuum, plump the cushions, set an elegant table, with beautifully laundered and starched cloths and serviettes and polished silver. Nor are we prepared to put the hours in to produce those special recipes, indulgent cakes and pastries, and delicate sandwiches and savouries.

Life is so "instant" these days.

I suppose we now favour different sorts of occasions. Here in Norfolk Island - and elsewhere - we have plenty of barbecues and "Pot luck" suppers and Fish Fries. Cocktail parties seem to have gone the way of tea parties, and the best we can manage is "Drinks (usually BYO) and finger food. Opening a few packets of chips and nuts, with the odd tub of commercial dip and oven-ready dim sims or chicken wings is often about the extent of our efforts. We do not seem to have the time or inclination to show our friends how much we care by taking the time to produce something really special. And if you do, you run the risk of being called a "Show-off"!
However, hospitality and getting together are still very much part of our lives, at least here on Norfolk Island. Only last night, we had about 35 here at our place, all family and extended family.We had a Fish Fry, and everyone brought salads and sweets and drinks. It was a veritable feast, and a truly happy occasion. The kids kicked a ball around on the front lawn till quite late in the night, thanks to the full moon, with the dogs - and even Charles' cat - joining in. We all ate till we could fit no more in, and it was delicious.
So I suppose food and drink is still important in the way we celebrate family and friendship and special occasions. We just do it differently. No doubt the little ones who piled their plates high with chips and trifle and pies last night will look back on these occasions with nostalgia in years to come, and refer to this time as "the good old days."
Because my scanner is playing up, I cannot bring you any more pictures of my "Tea Parties" book. I look forward to showing you more when I have sorted out the problem...and I also look forward to trying the "Carrot Cake", "Le Gateau Orange" and some of the other delightful old recipes in my Tea Parties book.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Delivered by Charles Christian-Bailey 16th October 2007

It’s an honour to share a little information about Mick’s life with you here today.

Charles Herbert Christian-Bailey was born on November 17th, 1931, the third child of Dorothy (nee Christian) and George Bailey. Mick was born down "Lockett's". This was a small Maternity home run by a midwife Mrs Collison in Cascade Road, opposite Henny’s Lake.
Shortly after he was born, Mrs Collison carried him out to show his older brother Bernie, who was only about two years old at the time. She asked Bernie what the baby’s name should be, and made several suggestions to him. Bernie said no to them all, and finally when she suggested “Micky”, Bernie said “Yes, Micky” – and so the name stuck as his nickname from birth, even though he was given the family names of Charles Herbert at his baptism.

Mick and his brother Bernie and sister Norma were all born in close proximity, and the third brother Len arrived a few years later. The family lived and grew up in “Cosy Corner” on Middlegate Road, which is the house Mick has lived in now for the last 40 or more years.

In 1942, Mick’s parents went to Sydney, so his father could enlist in the Army. Mick stayed with Aunt Em for a while, but eventually joined his parents in Sydney, where he finished his schooling at Darlinghurst Public School. The family lived in Woollahra, and Micky and his sister and brothers used to enjoy going to Bondi for a swim, or hiring horses from stables in Randwick to ride through Centennial Park. The horse riding helped them feel less homesick for Norfolk Island.
After leaving school, he worked for a grocery chain S.R. Buttles for a number of years.
Then, looking to broaden his experience he went to New Guinea to work first for an oil company, and later for a Copra and Cocoa Plantation at Buka in Bougainville.

Mick returned to Sydney and lived in Lane Cove with his parents. He worked with his father George on Maintenance at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Paddington, before returning home to Norfolk Island in the early sixties.
Back on Norfolk Island, Mick worked at various jobs, including farming and fencing contracting, and also working the ship. He earned a reputation for being a strong, fit and hard worker, and his fellow workers always found him good company because of his wonderful sense of humour and friendly banter.
Also Micky is no stranger to this place. Later he became Sexton of this Cemetery which was a position he held until his retirement just over ten years ago.
Mick took enormous pride in his job and set a very high standards for keeping the Cemetery and the surrounding areas in immaculate condition.

In 1964 Valerie Fuller came to Norfolk for a holiday and met Mick, They courted by long distance for 4 years before Valerie moved to Norfolk permanently in 1968 to be with Mick. Val got a job as a nursing sister at the hospital. Mick and Val were married at St Barnabas in 1974, and together they had two daughters, Olivia and Virginia.

Mick and Val's Wedding in April 1974. Both brother Bernie and Mother Dorothy can be seen laughing happily in the background. George (Poppa) is nursing our daughter Miriam

Mickey took great delight in his family and would do anything for them. We know he will be sadly missed by the girls and his four grandchildren – Alex, Hannah, Michael and Simone. Unfortunately, it has not been possible for Olivia to come from the United States at this time, but she was able to see her father while he was in hospital in Sydney, which was a joy to them both.

One thing that Mickey will undoubtedly be remembered for is his amazing ability in the garden growing vegetables. Val told me that earlier in their married life, she used to love to grow flowers. But too often she would wake early in the morning to hear the tractor going outside the bedroom window, and when she got up, she would find yet another flower bed had been rotary hoed up for carrots or cabbage. “Well, you can’t eat flowers!” Mick would say. So Val gave up on the flowers, knowing every available patch of dirt would most likely be given over to veges!
Only yesterday I was able to dig some carrots planted within a few feet of Mick and Val's house where flower gardens would normally be. Mick had planted these before he got ill.
Mick’s vegetables were generally huge, otherwise he thought "car-do"(not good enough). Any sweet tatie (kumera)he dug smaller than massive would often end up in various people's pig pens. He became an expert at growing vegetables in great quantities, and, in true Norfolk style, he was extremely generous. In his retirement, he spent lots of time in giving away vast quantities of vegetables not only to family and friends, but to many old folk and young families on the island.
He was also willing and keen to pass on tips about growing things to younger folk. So if Mick ever gave you advice about the best time to plant corn, or what to feed your cabbages or capsicums, make sure you put it into practice, write it down, and pass on the knowledge to others. If you don’t, there is a whole wealth of skill and knowledge that this true Islander acquired through years of experience which may be lost.

There is no doubt that Micky had an enormous sense of fun. Most of us will long remember wonderful stories about Mick’s sense of humour. He loved to joke and wind people up, especially visitors he got chatting to on the wharf or here at the Cemetery.
I remember him telling me recently of the occasion he went to the doctor, and Doctor Fletcher told him his blood pressure was so dangerously high that he ought to be dead……….
Waal,… I’m sorry to disappoint you!” Mick said in his usual humour.

Also about 37 years ago on the occasion of my mother and fathers wedding in Sydney, Mick sent a telegram from Norfolk with the cryptic message of. “Hang - on – tight – Nan's - Goodness”. Later on when a confused Mary asked what it meant, she learnt that this is what Bernie’s (and Micks) grandmother Settie used to sing out to young Bernie from across the paddock when he was a small boy as he was trying to control a frisky horse. ……Hang on tight, Nan’s Goodness.
I have been told that in Micks younger years, he spent a lot of time mimicking his old uncle Gillie Bailey ……. so much so, they say, that he eventually became just like him!!!
For those who may not have been on Norfolk for very long, Norfolk Islanders have a way of remembering the funny, unique or “Mard”(mad, crazy) sayings and actions of it’s people…..It’s called - “Dar thing fe dems”.
Micky, you will go down in history as one of Norfolk’s real characters.

You could always hear his friendly laughter from a great distance. Also I can clearly see his trademark stance, shuffle and slap of the knee when he roared with laughter.
In many ways he was a very private person, but he still enhanced and endeared the lives of many people in this community through his friendliness and great generosity.

Mick, Norma, Bernie and Len with their parents George and Dorothy at their 60th Wedding Anniversary

The last 6 months have been very difficult for Mick, and he has experienced a great deal of pain and adversity. But right up to the last, his sparkle and cheerfulness did not desert him. He was really glad to come home to his beloved Norfolk, and have the opportunity to enjoy a few meals of trumpeter, and see the old familiar faces.

Micky embodied the spirit of the true old Norfolk Islander, the qualities of which are words which we sing in the Pitcairn Anthem.
Micky will be greatly missed, not only by his family but by this community.


The passing of a family member or a friend is always a difficult milestone in one's life . It can be a poignant time, but it usually presents an opportunity for family and loved ones to gather together, not only to support each other, but to share memories.

The first few days after a death, one is often caught up in making arrangements, answering the door and the phone, and many other more mundane tasks. It is probably good to be busy and surrounded by people at this time.

The hardest times probably come later. The purposeful round of activity abates, particularly for the carers of the one who has been ill.....and the bills come in....

Bernie's brother Mick died last week. It hit very hard, because he had always seemed the strongest and fittest of the family. But he had endured months of pain. We were all so glad he was able to return home to his beloved island before he died.

You see, here you leave this life surrounded by wonderful love and caring support, from friends and family, and also from the amazing staff of our small hospital.

And the caring does not stop there. It carries you right through all the funeral and after.

News of the death comes over the local radio, accompanied by the Pitcairn Anthem

All the island's flags remain at half-mast until the burial.

The coffin, a simple box covered with calico and lace, is provided by the

A faithful group of ladies meet "in the usual place" on the day of the funeral to make wreaths, from flowers and greenery supplied by many different people

The hearse and driver are supplied, and there is even a dignified police escort

The grave is dug that morning by volunteers - and by hand, supervised by the government sexton, and the plot in our beautiful sea-side cemetery comes at no charge. Even the mound of dirt to the side of the freshly-dug grave is covered with hibiscus and other blooms.

During the funeral time, public and sporting events are respectfully cancelled.

As the procession goes through the town, the doors of the shops are closed, and the shop assistants line up in a dignified manner outside. Cars pull over to the side of the road.

Islanders gather in large numbers to farewell one of their community, and pay their respects. Laurie is always there at the gates of the Cemetery to hand out service sheets. A very helpful speaker system is provided by the Lion's Club, so that the service can be better heard by what is usually a very large gathering. The pallbearers are always chosen from among family and friends.

If there is to be a "wake" afterwards, food seems to arrive from everywhere, and there is no shortage of people happy to gather to share the sorrow, ease the pain, and celebrate the life of the one who has departed with wonderful stories and anecdotes.

Then, in the following week's newspaper, there will be an obituary, and a copy of the eulogy, once again free of charge!

A small white cross with the deceased's name is provided on the burial site until a proper memorial headstone is organised.

Mick was the sexton at our cemetery for many years, and made the area truly beautiful and well-cared for. Shane, who succeeded Mick in the job 10 years ago, and has maintained the wonderfully high standards set by Mick, said he could have the pick of the cemetery - he had earned it. So he was finally laid to rest in a clear area off to the side underneath an old leaning tree, with a view of the surf and the sea. A most beautiful spot.
Rest in Peace, Mick.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I wanted to show some more pictures of our A&H Show.

It is always amazing to go into the Hall of Exhibits and see the amazing range of skills, talent, creativity and productivity that comes from this little community! And then there are always the people who are willing to "have a go", not necesarily to compete and win, but just to help add to the wonderful colourful displays.

The section for "The biggest lantana stump"...there is something for everyone!

We usually race around and find a few flowers and hibiscus on the morning of the Show, to help fill the tables. This year Fletcher Christian actually "scooped the pool" with the prizes in this area. In fact, Tina and her clan entered so much they actually won 19 prizes!

The children are always encouraged to participate, in the adult sections as well as the school section..we are always hoping to instil the spirit of "having a go!"

The Kelly family enter their cooking exhibits

Some of Tina's Art work

This bunch of bananas came complete with bird's nest!

We really must show you Bronte's entry. Mandy and Dave had bought some carrots, and were most amused to see the twisted shapes. On the mainland, people have forgotten that they often grow like this, because the supermarkets are full of straight and uniform carrots. One looked just like a pair of legs, and I suggested Bronte might like to make a vegetable model for the Show. Then a few days later, James "Speed" Partridge gave us a bag of freshly-pulled carrots from his garden, and there was the perfect "Male" model. Yes, I know it is a little rude, but it did cause plenty of laughs - and it won first prize!!!

Bronte's "Adam and Eve"

There is always plenty going on around the Showground outside too

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Our local Agricultural and Horticultural Show is held each year on the second Monday in October, and is an event not to be missed.

It is, in fact, the reason that our two granddaughters Emily and Sarah plan on visiting us at this time each year.
The "Led-in" Events

Much of their holiday is spent up at Silky Oaks Stables, where they prepare for two busy days of competition in the Horse Events.

This year Sarah teamed up with AhStyk Kit-Kat, a fine looking horse, if just a little fresh! Emily was able to graduate from old Possum to use Ginger, who is a little younger.

Saturday afternoon they had the "Led-in" classes, and both horses and kids scrubbed up well to look their best!

Monday was Show Day, with a busy day of Equitation events, giving the kids a chance to show off their riding skills. Sarah and Emily are at a bit of a disadvantage, not having had the opportunity to practise and form a working relationship with their hacks throughout the year. But that did not deter them and they did really well. Especially Em, who earned herself the sash for the "Best Junior Rider!"

The girls and their cousins decided to dress up as characters from The Wizard of Oz in the Fancy Dress section, with "Ding-a-ling" playing the part of Toto!!
For the littlies, and those not so keen on the real thing, the Old Merry-go-Round was pressed into service!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


The Lavender bushes are full of their Spring flush of blooms, so I thought I would teach the girls how to make some "lavender bottles."

Tina and Mandy wanted to learn too, so we all sat round the patio table yesterday. That included Amy and Anna, who had stayed the night.

To make a lavender bottle, you need lavender with fairly long stalks. You also need 60- 80 cm of narrow ribbon, depending on how much of a loop and bow you want to make at the end.

You gather together an uneven number of stalks. Usually you need about 9 or 11 stalks, but if the flower heads are really plump, you can get away with 7.

The stalks need to be limp just beneath the flower heads. If they are still stiff, you can bruise them a little with your fingernails, so they will bend. Hold the bunch upside down and tie a tight secure knot just beneath the bundle of flower heads with a ribbon. Then fold the stalks down over the flower heads like a cage.

Leave about a third of the ribbon trailing down through the middle of the flowers, and use the longer end to weave under and over the stalks - basket style - round and round until you reach the base of the bundle of up-ended flower heads. Bring out the ribbon that was hanging through the middle, and wrap the two ends around the stalks, and tie them. You can make loops or bows, depending on whether you are going to put the "Lavender bottle" in a drawer with your "smalls" or hang it on a door or in the wardrobe.

We used curling ribbon, but you can also use narrow satin ribbon in a white or pastel shade.

The younger girls had a little difficulty with the weaving process, but Amy (who is 9) persevered until she managed it.

The lavender bottles make a lovely little gift for your friends, and are great for a stall at your local Fete or Spring Fair.

With a bit of practice, you can make them quite quickly.

And the fragrance lasts for years!

Then it was suggested that Tina showed us how to make Friendship bracelets. Out came the embroidery floss (of which I have an abundant supply). Everyone chose their favourite colours and went to work making the knots. Everyone caught on fast under Tina's guidance, and the girls found it easier than the Lavender project. In fact, it kept them engrossed for ages!

Between iceblocks and cups of tea and leftover birthday cake, we all got involved. Well, I must admit there was an occasional bored sigh from the menfolk and the littlies who waited patiently for us to lose interest.

Young Bronte decided to make her own original version, and she christened them "Cousinship Bracelets"!!

It was a wonderful "girlie" afternoon, leaving us all feeling wonderfully relaxed and stimulated at the same time. We must do something like this again before the holidays end!


Although our daughter Miriam definitely has Polynesian blood, going back to the Bounty Mutiny, she does not have Maori blood. However, when she emailed Emily and Sarah the other day, she said she hoped they were enjoying their time with the "WHANAU." This Maori word expresses a concept for which there is really no good English equivalent. Basically it is used for "extended family", but in the very broadest sense, meaning anyone to whom you have slightest blood and family connection. The implication is that these are the people with whom you feel a connection, have a common ancestry and heritage, and who will support you and stand beside you when it matters, whether it be a time of celebration, crisis, or mourning.

The girls are indeed enjoying "the whanau" from both Bernie's and my side of the family, and even the third cousins, as well as the cousins-by-marriage, are getting on famously!

Em opens presents, with Teddy, Anna, Amy and Sarah looking on.

Everyone was there to help Em celebrate her 11th birthday the other night. It was a beautiful still, warm evening - warm enough for Sienna to discard her pretty party dress!

Although we had decided to keep it simple, with "Do-it-yourself" Hamburgers, the meal turned out to be a real feast.

John donned his chef hat as usual, and cooked the patties, bacon, eggs, and fish cakes on the barbecue, while Dave lent a hand with the chips in the deep fryer. There were loads of lovely side dishes and sweet treats, and we finished off with the delicious Cookies'n'Cream birthday cake, accompanied by Jelly Tip Ice Cream!

All the girls enjoyed the get-together. The young mums had plenty to chat and laugh about.

And the little ones ran around in the dark, finally collapsing in front of the television, but not wanting to close their eyes in case they missed some of the fun!

Even the animals enjoyed the company, the pats and all the tid-bits.
Bronte, who is a real animal lover, gives Roany a hug.

But in the end, it was all too much for Digby.

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